“According to the pilot, he started carrying skydivers several days before the accident after familiarizing himself with the airport and airplane. The accident occurred on the fourth flight of the day. Around 2,000 ft during the initial climb, the airplane experienced a radio failure and the pilot noted a slight change in engine sound. He consulted with one of the tandem skydivers and continued to climb to 7,500 ft to allow the two pairs of skydivers to jump, which he felt was the safest course of action.”
“On August 25, 2018, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4785D, was destroyed after a collision with terrain at East Georgia Regional Airport (SBO), Swainsboro, Georgia. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, while one passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center as a skydiving flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.”
On June 23, 2018, about 1440 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182, N5682B, struck three vehicles following a complete loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing to a residential area about one mile east of Herlong Recreational Airport (HEG), Jacksonville, Florida. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane received substantial damage to the right elevator and the right wing. The airplane was registered to Jumpstart Skydiving LLC and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 skydiving flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported in the area about the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from HEG at 1400.
On June 10, 2018, about 1220 Atlantic standard time, a Cessna 182, N3889D, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after it experienced a total loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from the Antonio (Nery) Juarbe Pol Airport (ABO), Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The pilot was seriously injured, and the four passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to an individual and operated by Skydive Puerto Rico as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 skydiving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed about 1218.
On May 8, 2018, about 1500 central daylight time, a Cessna 182F airplane, N3291U, impacted a field 0.3 miles southeast of the airport shortly after takeoff from The Carter Memorial Airport (T91), Luling, Texas. The commercial pilot and 2 passengers sustained minor injuries, and 2 passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The skydiving flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.
The pilot reported that he departed for a parachute jump flight with 12 gallons of fuel onboard. He added that, after the parachute jumpers exited the airplane about 10,500 ft mean sea level (msl), he initiated a left spiraling descent back to the airport. He further added that he “heard and felt the engine start [to] quiet down as if it was shutting down.” He then began to make right descending turns and verified that the fuel selector was in the “both” position. He added that the cylinder head temperature was decreasing, so he switched back to left descending turns and that the “fuel starvation due to banking happened two more times.”
According to the pilot, he landed the airplane on the 1,800-ft-long asphalt runway in the rain at 70 mph with full flaps. He reported that, on final, he had considered conducting a go-around due to wind and weather, but “we were low, slow, and 130 pounds below maximum gross weight with very dynamic wind conditions at the time and …apartment buildings about 400 yards beyond the end of runway 19.” During the landing, he touched down with a right crosswind, about 600 ft beyond the runway threshold.
The pilot reported that on the morning of the flight he used a fuel dipstick to check fuel tank quantities prior to his flight. The fuel tank dipstick was marked in the number of skydiving flights and reserve fuel had a mark as well. The right tank showed a higher fuel quantity than the left and when combined, the stick showed enough fuel for three flight loads of jumpers. He further stated that he fueled the airplane up to the “four load” level five days prior to the accident flight, which was the last time the airplane was flown.
The pilot in the tricycle-gear-equipped airplane reported that he landed about 4 ft short of the asphalt runway. The nose landing gear struck the 6-inch-high asphalt perimeter and separated from the airplane. The pilot aborted the landing, the airplane bounced, and the pilot established a climb. He completed one traffic pattern and an approach. During the second landing, the pilot chose to land on the turf safety area parallel to the runway. When the airplane’s main landing gear touched down on the turf surface, the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall, fuselage, left wing, and empennage.
The commercial pilot was conducting a skydiving flight with a night aerial pyrotechnic display. According to the pilot and the lead jumper, who was also one of the airplane’s co-owners, a pyrotechnic box was installed on a step on the airplane’s left main landing gear assembly spring leg just before the flight. The pilot and the lead jumper reported that, after departure and as the airplane arrived at the planned jump area and altitude, the skydivers were given the go-ahead to jump, and one of the jumper’s activated the sparklers in the pyrotechnic box. Shortly thereafter, they heard an explosion and then saw damage to the bottom of the left wing with fuel pouring out of it. The left wing became engulfed in flames, and the skydivers successfully jumped out of the airplane.
The commercial pilot reported that, after dropping off skydivers, he made a rapid spiraling descent back to the airport. The pilot added that, because the wind had changed such that it resulted in a tailwind, he initiated a go-around during the landing approach; however, when he advanced the throttle, the engine initially surged and then lost power. The pilot made a forced landing in a corn field near the end of the runway.
After the accident, the pilot drained about 7 gallons of fuel from the airplane. Fuel was present in the carburetor, but the gascolator bowl was empty. No other anomalies were noted. It is likely that the low level of fuel unported during the rapid spiraling descent, which led to the subsequent fuel starvation to the engine.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Aviation Safety Inspector that arrived at the scene shortly after the accident, he located the uninjured pilot in command (PIC) and a passenger rated pilot who were the only occupants of the airplane. The inspector reported that the PIC told him that he had fueled the airplane prior to the flight. The PIC told the inspector that he had flown 2.5 hours on the right tank which indicated 3.9 gallons of fuel remained per the electronic fuel quantity indicator, at which time he switched to the left tank which indicated 15 gallons of fuel remained per the electronic fuel quantity indicator.
On May 23, 2016 about 0922 Hawaiian standard time, a Cessna 182H, N2007X, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after departure from Port Allen (PAK), Hanapepe, Hawaii. The pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, D & J Air Adventures, Inc., as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 flight as a part of the skydiving flight operation. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and no flight plan filed. The local flight originated from PAK at about 0921.
According to the pilot of the tricycle landing gear equipped airplane, he was performing skydiving operations. He reported that he felt rushed in performing his assigned duties because, “the skydiving school kept wanting me to return quicker for the next load.”
On September 27, 2015, about 1830 central daylight time, a Cessna 182A airplane, N3921D, was substantially damaged during an in-flight collision with trees and terrain near Lexington, Texas. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Austin Skydiving Center, Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a skydiving flight operation.
On July 14, 2015 about 1456 central standard time, a Cessna 1959 year model 182B skydive equipped airplane, N2764G, registered to Cook Aviation of St. Louis, Missouri, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain after the pilot bailed out (via donned parachute) due to flight control problems.
On June 29, 2015, about 0813 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182D, N9980T, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a reported loss of engine power during an approach to landing at the AJ Eisenberg Airport (OKH) Oak Harbor, Washington. The airplane was registered to Sinclair Aviation LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight. The local flight departed OKH at an undetermined time.
On June 13, 2015, about 1900 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N5143D, experienced a loss of engine power while on final approach to the Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY), Moab, Utah. The pilot subsequently made an off airport forced landing. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane was operated by Skydive Canyonlands under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a skydiving operation. The airplane sustained structural damage to the tail section of the airplane. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and a company flight plan had been filed. The flight was destined for CNY.
According to the pilot, he was attempting a soft field landing on runway 27. Following a stable approach and landing, a gust of wind was encountered. The airplane veered to the right and the pilot was unable to stop the airplane before the right wing struck a wind sock pole. An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the airplane and confirmed substantial damage to the right wing. The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot was on final approach when the engine started to run out of fuel. She said her boss had a similar problem on a previous flight, and had to correct for it by pitching the nose up and down to force fuel into the fuel lines. The pilot recalled pitching the nose up and down but nothing after that.